OPCW Director-General Visits Washington DC for High-Level Meetings and Public Presentations

Thursday, 18 June 2009
The OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter, visited Washington DC on 16 and 17 June 2009 for a series of high-level meetings with US government officials and Congressional offices and to deliver public addresses at two leading policy institutes.

During his visit Director-General Pfirter met Sen. Richard Lugar, the Republican Party leader on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and, together with former Sen. Sam Nunn, an architect of the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) or "Nunn-Lugar" programme. CTR has played a key role in safeguarding and dismantling weapons of mass destruction in former Soviet Union countries and mobilized over US$1 billion to build an immense new chemical weapons destruction facility at Shchuch'ye, Kurgan Region in the Russian Federation.

Both Sen. Lugar and Director-General Pfirter attended the opening of the Shchuch'ye facility in late May, and during their meeting in Washington they discussed the importance of continued international support for Russia's chemical weapons destruction efforts.

The Director-General also met Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher, President Obama's nominee as Under Secretary of State for International Security Affairs, and Gary Samore, the Obama Administration’s Senior Director for Counter-proliferation Strategy. He updated Congresswoman Tauscher and Mr Samore on the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and discussed the status of US chemical weapons destruction activities. 

In addition, the Director-General met senior staff members of the Senate committees on Appropriations and Foreign Relations; of the office of Rose Gottemoeller, Assistant Secretary of State for Verification, Compliance and Implementation; and with Rebecca Hersman and Andrew Weber in the office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Department of Defense.

While in Washington, Director-General Pfirter delivered a public address at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars entitled "Going to Zero with WMDs: Lessons from the Chemical Weapons Convention," and a second presentation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on "WMD Threats and the Role of International Organizations." Both events were co-sponsored by Global Green USA, which hosted the Director-General during his stay in Washington.

The Director-General's visit coincided with publication of a joint commentary that he co-authored with Mikhail Gorbachev, "Disarmament lessons from the Chemical Weapons Convention," which appeared in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists on 16 June 2009.

OPCW News 28/2009


Categories: Disarmament, Outreach, Western Europe and Other States

For further information, please contact Michael Luhan, Head, OPCW Media & Public Affairs. Tel: + 31 (0) 70 416 3710 or +31 (0)6 5356 8512 or media@opcw.org | ORGANISATION FOR THE PROHIBITION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS, Johan de Wittlaan 32, 2517 JR The Hague, The Netherlands

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